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Real, Barca, Chelsea and Bayern stretch pay vs revenue benchmarks

money flying

October 4 – Despite talk of luxury taxes, salary caps and squad limits, the financial reality is that top clubs can afford the ever-inflating costs of players and staff, according to latest research from the KPMG Football Benchmark team.

The researchers point out that the aggregate figures of clubs in the Big 5 by country, all “have grown operating revenues (net of transfer proceeds) in excess of total staff costs.”

“It comes as no surprise that the broadcasting receipts for the period 2013-2016, which were 70% up on the previous cycle, sent the English Premier League total operating revenues some 76% higher, the most dramatic rise among the leagues under analysis. Thus, despite the simultaneous 56% increase in staff costs during the same timeframe, English top-flight clubs benefitted more than their counterparts in other leagues did,” says the report.

Ligue 1 has the second best difference between revenues and cost increases (29% vs. 19%), the Bundesliga has both the second highest revenues (45%) and total staff costs growths (41%).

This is not the picture of a sport lurching towards financial meltdown as it overpays its players.

Looking at Europe’s 11 most valuable clubs, the research finds biggest clubs generally follow the overall trend of their league. “Seven disclose a revenue increase that outpaces the rise in staff costs, two score an ex-aequo and two score a negative result,” says the report.

“All the Premier League clubs, except Chelsea FC, stay in line with the overall results by aggregate figures; Liverpool FC display the highest growth by both metrics, while Manchester City FC have the most positive result. Furthermore, Italian champions Juventus FC and French giants Paris Saint-Germain FC also join this cluster of clubs, as their ability to leverage their revenue streams outperforms the increased remuneration of the staff.”

There is a word of warning in the report however. “A common factor among the poorest performers: Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC and FC Bayern München, indeed, are the four winners of the UEFA Champions League trophy from the five seasons under consideration. Winning comes at a cost, and eventual bonuses or contract renewals awarded might have a stronger impact on a club’s books than any success achieved on the international stage.”

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See the full report at https://www.footballbenchmark.com/leagues_salaries

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